Tuna ship contract latest sign of China's increasing presence in Sri Lanka
A Chinese shipbuilding company which recently sold two tuna vessels to Sri Lanka sees “huge opportunities” in the country’s plans to develop its fisheries.
Fujian Zi Shun Boat Building co-built the two line vessels for the Sri Lankan’s fisheries ministry and the company’s chairman, Zhou Jing Shan, said he hopes to supply more vessels to the South Asian nation.
“Sri Lanka has a high requirement for vessels as, in deployment and technology, they have fallen behind,” Zhou said. “Now the government there has a plan to develop their fisheries.”
Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development aims to raise its exports from USD 1.3 billion (EUR 1.1 billion) in 2020 to USD 5 billion (EUR 4.2 billion) in 2030 and Zi Shun vessels are best-placed to meet Sri Lanka’s needs on price, quality, and reliability, Zhou said. In addition to vessel construction, Zhou said his firm is also willing to provide training and maintenance.
Sri Lanka’s location in the Indian Ocean has made it a strategic priority for China, which last year signed a 99-year lease for the country’s Hambantota port. China, meanwhile, has also become a major alternative market for local tuna, which had traditionally gone to the European Union.